Saturday, January 28, 2012

Knowles Memorial Chapel

The second stop on the 34th Worldwide Sketch Crawl was Knowles Memorial Chapel on Rollins College in Winter Park. I did not see any artists at the 5.2k run but I knew it might be hard to spot artists in that crowd. I had resigned myself to a solo crawl. When I got to the chapel, I walked all around the building searching for the best sketch angle and keeping my eyes open for anyone holding a sketchbook. I decided to sit on a nice iron bench and I got to work. I don't sketch buildings very often, mostly because it is so hot in Orlando. It was a beautiful clear cool crisp day and I relaxed into the sketch.

Young students jogged by and a truck full of Lacrosse players rumbled down the hill towards the lake and playing fields. A player shouted out, "Do a drawing for me!" His buddy's laughed. A woman approached from the street talking on her cell phone. I heard her say something about sketching the chapel. She put the phone away and I asked, "Are you here for the Crawl?" She didn't understand, so I gave her a flier and explained what a Worldwide Sketch Crawl was. It turned out Claire Wiley was indeed meeting people to sketch, but they were a separate group of sketchers unrelated to the Crawl. Isaac Warshow walked up and Claire shouted out, "Come meet my new friend!" Isaac absolutely loved my work so, I shared a sketchbook with him and we chatted, then sketched together. Claire wandered across the street, set up her portable artist's stool and began sketching the front facade. Brad and Wendy Ringhausen, a married couple introduced themselves then set up outside a chapel courtyard. Brad told me he planned to finish a sketch he had started a year and a half ago. Brad showed Claire his sketch and they talked for a while before he walked off to finish it.

A large van parked right in front of me blocking the lower half of my view of the chapel. The van was for the Gospel for Teens Choir. They piled out and went inside the chapel to rehearse. An hour later, the van drove off and I focused on the areas that had been blocked. Isaac had to leave to get his hair done. He had done a bold study of the Chapel tower in ink using Rapidograph pens. He used watercolor pencils to add some color. He asked for my advice, so I suggested he darken the shadow side of the building.

Terry was coming to meet me for lunch. When I started packing up my supplies, I noticed Claire across the street had finished as well. I walked over to compare sketches and chat. Her sketchbook was full of small intimate studies of architecture, trees and delicate watercolor studies of clouds. The clouds floated and filled the pages with no horizon to ground them. Because of that, they were painted more boldly and had a degree of abstraction. They made me want to look up. Wispy clouds had blown in and enveloped the sky.

She works as an interior designer at Disney and her husband does the same for Universal. She is a sketch addict. When Terry walked up and I introduced her, Claire asked, "Is it a problem for you that Thor is always out sketching?" That was a loaded question that caused me to laugh out loud. Terry responded, "It is important for couples to make time to be together." It turns out Claire sketches even when she and her husband are out to dinner. She has to negotiate for the time to finish. For some reason it makes me happy that there are other couples who share the same negotiations.

Brad and Wendy sat in the courtyard together. He used a brown brush pen to delineate all the roof tiles and the rest of the sketch was done in muted neutral tones. Wendy was working on an interior study of a room using a photo for reference. She liked the multiple textures and experimented with ways to reproduce them in her sketch. I invited everyone to join me for the rest of the crawl, but one sketch was enough for them. Terry and I said goodbye and we walked up Park Avenue to find lunch.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Balaji Venugopal said...

I generally like most of the sketches that you post, but this one is particularly appealing.

I am very lucky to have a wife and daughter who both love to sketch. They decided to have their own private sketchcrawl last Saturday but I could not join them that day.

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful sketch.

Doreen Overstreet said...

Love this :-)